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Rabih Torbay, Project HOPE President & CEO, on Impact of India’s COVID Crisis on COVAX’s Vaccine Distribution

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“With disruption to the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine doses by the Serum Institute of India, low and middle-income countries expected to receive vaccine supplies through COVAX will face delays and shortage in the coming months, increasing the risk of new infection waves.

African countries, of which many are dependent on COVAX, are a major concern as new coronavirus variants have proliferated across southern and eastern Africa, exacerbating the challenge of bringing the pandemic under control. Africa is the world’s least-vaccinated continent.

The longer populations go unvaccinated, the higher the risk of mutations is. If vaccination plans are not scaled up, Africa risks becoming a hotbed of variants.

This virus has shown that no country should let its guards down. Following the health safety precautions and preparedness can go a long way. Countries with low vaccination rates should strengthen their surveillance and detection systems and wealthy nations should be ready to support with vaccines, protection gear, medical equipment, including oxygen, hospital beds, and critical medicines.

Sixteen months into the pandemic, lessons must be learned. What’s happening in India didn’t need to happen and doesn’t need to happen in Africa or anywhere else. The United States, Europe, and other wealthy nations must stand ready to act quickly to ship aid and to provide financial support when necessary.”

Facts & Figures:

  • Africa accounts for only 1% of the vaccines administered worldwide.

  • 41 African countries have received vaccine deliveries through COVAX since March.

  • COVAX contracted at least 200 million doses with the Serum Institute of India.

  • The Serum Institute of India has a license to manufacture the Oxford-AstraZeneca and the Novavax vaccines.

  • COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021.

About Project HOPE

Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.projecthope.org and follow us on Twitter @projecthopeorg

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: Hajer Naili, Media Relations Manager,  HNaili@ProjectHOPE.org, +1 (917) 889-5982/ +33 6 03 50 53 93